Self-fulfilling Prophecies?

As the nation marches toward war in the Middle East, millions of Americans believe in Biblical prophecies of Armageddon that predict war and mass slaughters of Jews and Muslims. "Genocide, in short, becomes the ultimate means of prophetic fulfillment," writes historian Paul Boyer. "Without close attention to the prophetic scenario embraced by millions of American citizens, the current political climate in the United States cannot be fully understood. ... [W]hen our born-again president describes the nation's foreign-policy objective in theological terms as a global struggle against 'evildoers,' and when, in his recent State of the Union address, he casts Saddam Hussein as a demonic, quasi-supernatural figure who could unleash 'a day of horror like none we have ever known,' he is not only playing upon our still-raw memories of 9/11. He is also invoking a powerful and ancient apocalyptic vocabulary that for millions of prophecy believers conveys a specific and thrilling message of an approaching end - not just of Saddam, but of human history as we know it."